Why is There a Picnic in My Parking Spot?

park_ing_.jpg
Park(ing) in Park Slope, Brooklyn, May 6, 2006. The sign says, "Public space reclamation in progress."

Today is International Park(ing) Day, the day when urban dwellers all around the world reclaim on-street parking spaces for purposes more creative and life-affirming than private motor vehicle storage. If you found a bunch of kids playing in an available local parking spot on a grassy, sod carpet, that’s why.

Addendum: Transportation Alternatives organized New York City’s first Park(ing) event in October 2005. And while Oklahoma City residents staged a similar event in 1935 to protest the introduction of the first parking meters, the generally acknowledged first modern Park(ing) squat took place in Oxford, England in 2003 when a family installed a complete living room in the middle of a residential street and watched Wimbledon on the telly. That particular event ended after an angry local motorist ran his car into their sideboard.

This year, Park(ing) Day started off as a one-off art project in San Francisco just two years ago and has emerged as a widespread grassroots movement to take back city streets from the automobile. There will 50 Park(ing) events in San Francisco, 28 in New York City and scores more in cities all around the world. Streetsblog is looking for photos of Park(ing) events around the city. Please send them to tips@streetsblog.org.

Here’s where Park(ing) events are planned in the five boroughs:

The Bronx

  • High Bridge Area
  • Southern Blvd. & E. 163rd St.

Brooklyn

  • Seventh Av. & 1st St.
  • Bedford Av. bet. N. 4th & 7th Sts.
  • Carlton & DeKalb Aves.
  • Cortelyou Rd.
  • Myrtle Av. bet. Washington & Waverly Aves.

Manhattan

  • Columbus Av. bet. 83rd & 84th Sts.
  • Rockefeller Plaza
  • Times Square
  • Lincoln Center
  • Grand Central Terminal
  • Astor Place
  • 1st St. & First Av.
  • Penn Station
  • Stuyvesant
  • 9th St. & Third Av.
  • Houston St. bet. Second & Third Aves.
  • Broadway bet. 113th & 114th Sts.
  • Midtown TBA
  • 563 Columbus Av. (at 87th St.)
  • Seventh Av. bet. 24th & 26th Sts.
  • Seventh Av. & Charles St.

Queens

  • Western Jackson Heights
  • TBA in Astoria

Staten Island

  • Everything Goes Book Cafe in Tompkinsville
  • 3 Central Av. near Library

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Parking it in Midtown

|
Today is International Park(ing) Day. Also known as a "parking squat," Park(ing) is a quasi-legal reclamation of urban street space in which a metered, curbside parking spaces are transformed into urban parkland complete with sod, benches, trees and human beings. Here is how Park(ing) Day is being celebrated this morning in Midtown Manhattan on 8th […]

PARK(ing) Day

|
PARK(ing) Day is September 21, 2006 REBAR opened eyes worldwide by temporarily transforming a metered parking spot into a PARK. We reclaimed the street for people…at least until the meter ran out! Now the challenge is up to you. REBAR, with support from The Trust for Public Land (TPL) wants you, the most creative minds […]

Belated Park(ing) Day Parking Spot Squat in Brooklyn

|
Three weeks ago, people all around the country — including nearly two dozen groups in New York City — took part in National Park(ing) Day, a nationwide effort to transform public on-street parking spaces into mini-parks and community gathering places. Park Slope Neighbors intended to take part, but their team was quickly asked to move […]

Streetfilms: Park(ing) Day San Francisco

|
Park(ing) Day San FranciscoA Clarence Eckerson StreetfilmRunning time: 6:51 – 22.05 MB, QuickTime New York City Streets Renaissance Filmmaker Clarence Eckerson happened to be in San Francisco on Thursday during International Park(ing) Day. Organized by an art collective called Rebar Group, the idea behind Park(ing) is to reclaim curbside automobile parking spaces by temporarily transforming […]

Countdown to Park(ing) Day 2008

|
On September 19, New Yorkers will stake their claim to some of the city's most valuable, yet cheapest, real estate in celebration of Park(ing) Day. For the uninitiated, Park(ing) Day entails the reclamation of public space by setting up temporary parks in on-street parking spots.

Want a Park(ing) Day Spot? 50 Spaces Now Available.

|
Mark September 19 on your calendars. That’s when Park(ing) Day returns to New York. Last year, neighborhood groups all over the city got into the street reclamation groove, converting 25 parking spots into temporary parks. Park(ing) Day 2008 figures to be even more visible. Fifty spots will be set aside to show how public street […]